Best Things To Do

The Top 29 Events in Portland This Week: July 1–7, 2024

Waterfront Blues Festival, Summer of Slushies, and More
July 1, 2024
The Waterfront Blues Festival's signature Fourth of July fireworks will light up the sky Thursday night. (Jason Quigley/Waterfront Blues Festival)
July is starting off strong—there's plenty of can't-miss events this week, from the Waterfront Blues Festival to Noah Kahan's We'll All Be Here Forever Tour and from Picnic in the Pearl to Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies. For more ideas, check out our Fourth of July guide.

Holiday hours may vary—check venue websites directly for up-to-date information.

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It Came From Japan! In 16mm Past Event List
Are you a fan of tokusatsu madness? (That's a Japanese term for live-action programming with heavy practical effects, for the uninitiated—and yes, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers counts.) If so, you'll dig these '60s- and '70s-era archival episodes of Ultra Q and Spectreman, plus a "surprise show in Japanese" featuring a cyborg space sheriff and "a band of insanely coiffed intergalactic baddies." It Came from Japan! will screen on lush 16mm, so you'll feel especially cultured while feasting your eyes on space apes, kaiju, and flying heads. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District)


Noah Kahan: We'll All Be Here Forever Tour Past Event List
From 2017 to 2022, Vermont-hailing singer-songwriter Noah Kahan had a decently successful music career, touring with artists like Ben Folds, George Ezra, and James Bay. Then his 2022 single "Stick Season"—a three-minute-long acoustic folk song about lost love—gained mainstream success, leading to a nomination in 2023 for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. If you're over the age of 25, think of "Stick Season" as Gen Z's "Hey There Delilah." He will bring the We’ll All Be Here Forever Tour to Ridgefield for a scenic evening of music alongside indie folk artist Jensen McRae. AV
(RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater, Ridgefield)



Church of Film: Scarecrow in A Garden of Cucumbers Past Event List
Church of Film will chime in for Pride Month with a buried masterpiece: Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers, a Warhol-era raunch-fest that somehow features Bette Midler on the soundtrack. The flick follows a true blue Kansas girl who heads to the Chelsea Hotel in search of stardom. Instead, she finds an increasingly outrageous crew of early '70s New Yorkers. If you've got a discerning eye, you'll spy a whole gaggle of Warhol's superstars and icons in the campy musical, which Church of Film describes as a "trans classic." LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy)


Horse Lords Past Event List
For eight years now, I've been telling people that Horse Lords have reigned among the greatest live performers in underground rock. On this blog in 2022, I wrote, "Horse Lords have mastered the fine art of hypnosis through manic repetition in their epic compositions, but offering slight variations in riffs and intensities to maintain a vibrant edge. It would be easy to plunge into monotony with this approach, but Horse Lords—Max Eilbacher, Andrew Bernstein, Owen Gardner, and Sam Haberman—savvily alter their parts and forge fascinating microtonal textures to avoid stasis." All of that applies to their new live album, As It Happened: Horse Lords Live, which corrals HL songs dating back to 2014's Hidden Cities. But don't just take my word for it. Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy's also a fan. He told Stereogum: "I'm mesmerized by how impossible their music seems... It's not much you see anymore,... a real band forging a super-individual language." Dad-rock-icon validation! STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR DAVE SEGAL
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)

Todd Rundgren: ME/WE Past Event List
Prog rock wizard Todd Rundgren will stop by on his ME/WE tour with songs from his nearly six-decade-long music career. During that time, Rundgren recorded 27 solo albums (plus dozens more with his bands Utopia and Nazz); produced iconic albums like New York Doll's debut, Patti Smith Group's Waves, Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell; and composed several scores for TV and film, including that of Dumb and Dumber, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and Crime Story—how's that for a resume? My fingers are crossed that he'll play some songs from his 1972 glam-rock masterpiece Something/Anything? AV
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)



Picnic in the Pearl Past Event List
July's First Thursday celebration falls on the Fourth, so why not celebrate in the Pearl? Picnic in the Pearl makes it easy—the fam-friendly event will spread across seven blocks, where you'll find vendors sharing artsy wares and treats, plus live music, games, and (natch) a picnic area. My suggestion? Spread out a blanket and indulge in some subtle people-watching. LC
(NW 13th and NW Everett, Pearl District)



Kickstand Comedy In The Park Remind List
Kickstand Comedy's hugely popular Comedy in the Park series has returned, hitting Laurelhurst Park on most Fridays through September 6. Grab your pals with a sense of humor and drop your blankets early—the free stand-up show has been known to draw crowds of 4,000 or more. The plus side of the bonkers crowd is the unmatched dog-watching; I'm a fan of Laurelhurst duck-watching, too. This Friday, a lineup of much-loved funnybones will head to the stage after local laughers Rachelle Cochran and Julia Corral get the crowd going. LC
(Laurelhurst Park, Laurelhurst)


Common Girl Past Event List
Common Girl takes the best parts of '80s shoegaze and early aughts screamo (moody guitars, ghostly reverb, and distorted vocals) while leaving behind all the cheesy, pretentious stuff. They will support their simply titled EP, ep2, alongside emo band Twistur, SoCal alt-rockers Growing Pains, and slowcore outfit Jousting. AV
(Crystal Ballroom, West End)



Cortex Past Event List
French jazz-fusion group Cortex is a noted favorite of hip-hop artists with their 1975 album, Troupeau Blue, which has been sampled by Tyler, the Creator, MF DOOM, Madlib, and more. The ensemble, led by founding member Alain Mion, will stop by Portland for a rare performance of tracks from their five influential albums. AV
(Revolution Hall, Buckman)



Playing with Light Remind List
Life is short. Manipulate over 20,000 LEDs by wiggling your hands around, "painting" with light, bouncing laser beams, and freezing your shadow. No idea what I'm talking about? That's because you haven't seen Playing with Light yet. OMSI's latest exhibition is, naturally, kinda for kids, but it's also for people with childlike wonder, $20 for admission, and a dream. Check out one of the museum's summer screenings in the Empirical Theater when you're done. LC
(OMSI, Central Eastside, Tuesday–Sunday)

Tree People: Puiden Kansa Remind List
Works by Finnish artists Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo will come together for this photography exhibition, which draws from forest-based mythology to reflect on ancient customs and beliefs in rural Finland, Estonia, and East Karelia. To capture the images in Tree People, Kovalainen and Seppo researched and traveled for a decade; the results feel both sacred and familiar. After all, most of us have felt a close connection to a tree at some point in our lives. Head to the exhibition to learn more about the forest spirits and stories, then explore the World Forestry Center and Discovery Museum's wood-filled space. LC
(World Forestry Center & Discovery Museum, Washington Park, Wednesday–Sunday)

Tyrannosaurs - Meet the Family Remind List
As a child, I begged my mom to take me to a "fossil digging" experience staged in an old Chuck E. Cheese, where kids were given a shovel and a sifter and let loose in a swimming pool-sized sand pit to hunt for petrified remains. I had the time of my life, came away with dozens of fossils, and it only hit me about five minutes ago that they were probably all fake. Point is, dinosaurs evoke strong emotions. "Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family brings the latest tyrannosaur discoveries to life, overturning preconceptions about these ferocious predators," OMSI's promotional materials read. Okay, so do we have T. rex's vibes all wrong? Have we been slandering their name for...let's see...66 million years? This exhibition seems like a solid way to find out. Head to OMSI to learn about tyrannosaurs through real and replica specimens, fossils, three life-sized reconstructed skeletons, and a "30-foot tunnel where you can watch tyrannosaurs exploring modern-day Portland." LC
(OMSI, Central Eastside, Tuesday–Sunday)


A Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid-Literary Exhibition Remind List
Expanding upon the print hybrid-literary anthology A Mouth Holds Many Things created by Portland-based literary-social art project De-Canon, this group exhibition centers "visual-textual" works by women and nonbinary BIPOC writers. A Mouth Holds Many Things includes pieces by Samiya Bashir, Carolina Ebeid, Vi Khi Nao, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Paisley Rekdal, Sasha Stiles, Anna Martine Whitehead, and many others. Head to Stelo to fill your artistic cup: You'll spy interesting hybrid visions in video poems, textile books, and poetry/painting collaborations. LC
(Stelo, Pearl District, Monday–Sunday)


Kinds of Kindness Past Event List
I know what you're thinking. You just recovered from Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos' dystopian, unorthodox answer to Rochelle, Rochelle. But as I noted while writing about his last film, "Real Lanthimos heads know that he doesn't direct anything without making audiences ponder why they're on the planet at all. He is weird, as directors should be, and you're either in or you're out." He's already back and more bizarre than ever, people! Kinds of Kindness is billed as a "triptych fable," following three stories of intrigue that suspiciously star the same cast that populated Poor Things (Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, and Margaret Qualley). Do you think they were just like, "Fuck it, let's hang out some more?" Because that's what it seems like, and they've brought everyone's favorites (Jesse Plemons, Hong Chau, and Hunter Schafer) along for the ride. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Monday–Wednesday)

MaXXXine Past Event List
Indie horror ace Ti West (The Sacrament, The House of the Devil) returned in 2022 with a Southern-fried A24 slasher. Following a gang of youth cruising through rural Texas in the '70s, X drew clear inspiration from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but still managed to craft a pretty fresh story centered around a psychopathic elderly villain. West made the best of it, quickly releasing the follow-up backstory Pearl, and MaXXXine will conclude the freaky trilogy. Who's the common denominator? Mia Goth, our 21st-century version of Shelley Duvall. She'll reprise her role as Maxine, a porn starlet hellbent on real fame in a serial killer-ridden Los Angeles. LC
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, Wednesday–Sunday)


Portland Craft Beer Festival Past Event List
Unlike similar craft beer events, this annual festival focuses primarily on beers brewed within the city limits of Portland, making it an excellent opportunity to avail yourself of plenty of local suds in one place. If beer isn't your thing, there's also a selection of cider, wine, and mead. This year's gathering will be held at the picturesque Elizabeth Caruthers Park, with food, live music, vendors, games, and other entertainment. Best of all, you can rest easy knowing your ticket supports a good cause: Together with its partner CaskAide, Inc., the festival has raised nearly $40,000 for local nonprofits. JB
(Elizabeth Caruthers Park, South Waterfront, Thursday–Saturday)

Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies 2024 Remind List
Get ready for the coolest, most delicious event of the summer! The Merc and Jim Beam present Summer of Slushies, which brings boozy, frozen, custom-made treats to the frugal and thirsty denizens of Portland at just $8 a pop, all July long.
(Various locations, Monday–Sunday)


Waterfront Blues Festival 2024 Past Event List
The Waterfront Blues Festival is celebrating its 37th year as one of the Pacific Northwest's most beloved and anticipated music events with over 100 diverse and multigenerational musicians who carry on the traditions and various shades of the definitive genre. This year's headliners include national treasure/folk-rock icon Lucinda Williams, Americana string ensemble Greensky Bluegrass, blues rock heavies Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, eight-piece soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones, contemporary country queen Margo Price, and electric blues icon Bobby Rush. AV
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown, Thursday–Sunday)


a seagull Past Event List
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble has worked to translate Chekhov plays for the last decade, and this interpretation of Lewis and Clark professor Štĕpán Šimek’s translation of The Seagull asks an important question: What are we all really doing here? The Mercury has frequently praised PETE's Chekhov-inspired productions, so you shouldn't miss this one. "There will be dead birds and beating hearts," the organizers promise. Expect a tragicomedy that makes you think. LC
(Portland Center Stage, Pearl District, Tuesday–Sunday)

Original Practice Shakespeare Festival Remind List
The Original Practice Shakespeare Festival brings its productions outdoors each summer, interpreting the Bard's ​work in the classic First Folio style (that means limited rehearsal, an onstage prompter, and a fast-paced, improvisational feel). "Shakespeare should feel a little dangerous," the fest's promotional materials explain, and nothing sounds more dangerous to me than hopping on stage in front of a crowd to perform a barely rehearsed Elizabethan play. Check out the calendar for dates and locations of plays performed in parks across the city, including Succession-esque tragedy King Lear and forbidden love folktale Cymbeline this month. LC
(Various locations, Friday–Saturday)

She's Like The Wind: A Musical Parody Past Event List
From the folks who brought you the sold-out trash classic Road House: The Play, She's Like the Wind stars Portland's funniest (including the Merc's own Wm. Steven Humphrey) as they fall in love at a '60s resort in the Catskills. They'll practice their dancing—both dirty and clean—with help from a live band. Funny fave Shelley McLendon adapted the musical parody for the stage, so you know there won't be any babies in any corners. LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, Wednesday & Friday)


Bean Gilsdorf: Textile Collages Past Event List
Multimedia artist Bean Gilsdorf has often drawn from imagery of sociopolitical figureheads to inspire her work—the fourth-generation seamstress has created slumping soft sculpture forms of American exceptionalist idols, women convicted of violent crimes, and more in previous exhibitions. If you haven't seen her work yet, what better time than election season? Gilsdorf will drape Elizabeth Leach Gallery's project wall with hand-dyed cotton collages featuring some polarizing faces you might recognize. LC
(Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Pearl District, Tuesday–Saturday; closing)

Designing Women Past Event List
Curator-photographer Melanie Flood and artist Matt Morris come together in Designing Women to address (and critique) a polarizing question: What is a woman? When Flood’s photography is paired with Morris's paintings, textiles, and perfumery, a multimedia experience floods the senses and conjures yet another question: Who is the designer of women? "Though the assertion that women can be designed establishes an aesthetic project and a subject position, it is unknown what actors are at play," the artists explain. I'm intrigued by Flood's beach ball breast and Morris's digital prints on ruched satin. LC
(ILY2, Pearl District, Wednesday–Saturday)

Emily Wise: Hair of The Banshee Past Event List
When I last saw Emily Wise's work in her 2023 Chefas Projects solo exhibition Hands that Hold the Melting Rope, the artist's surreal, neon-hued acrylic compositions were populated with dream-world cool girls, flowing flora, and mystical patterns. The motto of Wise's work seems to be "the longer you look, the more you find," like a lucid dream in painting form. This time around, she depicts the Irish banshees of her grandmother's fairy tales, and wonders whether the matriarch was "merely the keeper of these Irish legends, or indeed the very banshee she spoke of." LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, Wednesday–Saturday)

finger tight: Haley Lauw Remind List
New Well Well Projects member Haley Lauw's first solo exhibition in the Pacific Northwest explores all the sexy stuff, like restraint, hands, adverbs, and hardware, for starters. Lauw's "love letter to Tractor Supply and Ace Hardware" is also an investigation of "suggestion and approximations," so don't expect to leave with any concrete answers. I'm intrigued by Lauw's use of material, especially in Horn if You’re Honky, which weaves ratchet straps with rubber strapping. LC
(Well Well, Kenton, Saturday–Sunday; opening)

Jessie Weitzel Le Grand: Two Suns Over the Neon Reef Past Event List
In Jessie Weitzel Le Grand's last solo exhibition at Chefas Projects, the sculptor's quirky creations imagined an alternate dimension or afterlife called Ny By. Le Grand is nothing if not imaginative, and Two Suns Over the Neon Reef proves it: Another selection of "peculiar creations by the citizens of Ny By" conjures artifacts from the strange realm where geodes, blossoms, and sandwiches reign supreme. No language, no laws, and no existential crises emerge in Ny By. (BRB, applying for citizenship now.) LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, Wednesday–Saturday)

Math Bass: Full Body Parentheses Past Event List
Math Bass's latest is a mid-career survey of the Los Angeles-based abstract artist's sculptural pieces, site-specific murals, and paintings. Bass began their practice in the performance art realm, but expanded their visual lexicon to include many mediums—and the graphic, symbolic style for which they're best known—over time. In Full Body Parentheses, Bass’s sculptures "animate and complicate those more familiar, flattened forms, creating a resonant, playful world of iconic objects." LC
(lumber room, Pearl District, Friday-Saturday)

Rob Lyon: Also Votives Past Event List
British painter Rob Lyon's second exhibition with Adams and Ollman explores landscape through a spiritual lens. Also Votives is also the first display of the artist's drawings, and an accompanying zine makes the show an unusual treat for fans of his deceptively simple charcoal and oil compositions. Drawing inspiration from the chalk hills of England's coastal South Downs, Lyon "conjures its unique spirits, which he then uses as a gateway to transcend the logic and limitations of the physical world in pursuit of spiritual or metaphysical connection." The results are bold and portal-like, full of sharp angles and genuine curiosities referencing everything from Neolithic burial mounds to celestial forms. LC
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, Wednesday–Saturday)

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